12 YEARS A SLAVE Review

by     Posted 1 year, 13 days ago

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[This is a re-post of my review from the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival.  12 Years a Slave opens today in limited release.]

It’s easy to draw the lines regarding slavery in America as “good” and “evil” where the enslavers were evil and everyone else was good. When the issue of slavery culminated in the Civil War, the battle lines were drawn between the “good” north and the “evil” south. As long as we know someone else is to blame for the evil in the world, then we remove all culpability from ourselves. With unflinching, heart-wrenching honesty, Steve McQueen’s adaptation of Solomon Northrup’s memoir 12 Years a Slave shows that the issue of slavery wasn’t as simple as black-and-white. There were shades of grey regarding slavery even among slaves. The vileness of slavery isn’t in question, and McQueen shows it in all its ugliness. He shows slavery to the point of how it not only wears away a person’s body, but also their identity and even their soul. The exploration in 12 Years a Slave is into the culpability of all men and women, free and slave, in this unquestionable shame.

22 New Images from AMERICAN HORROR STORY: COVEN Featuring Jessica Lange, Kathy Bates, Emma Roberts, Evan Peters, and More

by     Posted 1 year, 28 days ago

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October is upon us, and that means new seasons of American Horror Story and The Walking Dead are near.  After weeks of tantalizing teasers and posters, FX has now released a full gallery of images from American Horror Story: Coven that unveil the colorful cast of characters and give us a peek at the show’s first episode, aptly titled “Bitchcraft.”  This season deals with witchcraft, specifically the war between the Salem-descended witches and the voodoo witches.  Jessica Lange plays a powerful witch who returns home to New Orleans where her daughter runs a school for young witches.  By the looks of these new images, Lange takes matters into her own hands and decides to school the group of young witches on her own.

Hit the jump to check out the images.  The series also stars Kathy Bates, Angela BassettEmma RobertsDenis O’HareAlexandra BreckenridgePatti LuPoneGabourey SidibeEvan PetersSarah PaulsonTaissa FarmigaFrances Conroy, and Lily Rabe.  American Horror Story: Coven airs on FX starting Wednesday, October 9th at 10pm.

First Clip and New Images from 12 YEARS A SLAVE Starring Chiwetel Ejiofor and Michael Fassbender

by     Posted 1 year, 34 days ago

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Fox Searchlight has released the first clip from 12 Years a Slave.  The true story is based on Solomon Northup’s autobiography of the same name, and stars Chiwetel Ejiofor (Children of Men) as Northup, an educated and married black man living in New York in 1841.  Northup was approached by two men about a job offer in Washington D.C., but when he showed up he was kidnapped and forced into slavery for over a decade.  The clip features one of the film’s more potent scenes where Solomon, before he’s kidnapped and sold into slavery, chooses to turn a blind-eye to the heinous institution.

Hit the jump to check out the clip along with some new images.  The film also stars Michael Fassbender, Benedict CumberbatchPaul GiamattiQuvenzhane WallisSarah PaulsonPaul DanoScoot McNairyGarrett DillahuntAlfre WoodardDwight Henry, Michael K. Williams, and Brad Pitt12 Years a Slave opens on October 18th.  Click here to read my review from the Toronto International Film Festival.

TIFF 2013: 12 YEARS A SLAVE Review

by     Posted 1 year, 51 days ago

twelve-years-a-slave-slice

It’s easy to draw the lines regarding slavery in America as “good” and “evil” where the enslavers were evil and everyone else was good.  When the issue of slavery culminated in the Civil War, the battle lines were drawn between the “good” north and the “evil” south.  As long as we know someone else is to blame for the evil in the world, then we remove all culpability from ourselves.  With unflinching, heart-wrenching honesty, Steve McQueen’s adaptation of Solomon Northrup’s memoir 12 Years a Slave shows that the issue of slavery wasn’t as simple as black-and-white.  There were shades of grey regarding slavery even among slaves.  The evil of slavery isn’t in question, and McQueen shows it in all its ugliness.  He shows slavery to the point of how it not only wears away a person’s body, but also their identity and even their soul.  The exploration in 12 Years a Slave is into the culpability of all men and women, free and slave, in this unquestionable evil.

First Featurette for Steve McQueen’s 12 YEARS A SLAVE Starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, and Brad Pitt

by     Posted 1 year, 58 days ago

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Steve McQueen‘s 12 Years a Slave received massive acclaimed when it premiered at the Telluride Film Festival, and now the first featurette for the film has been released.  The true story is based on Solomon Northup’s autobiography of the same name, and stars Chiwetel Ejiofor (Children of Men) as Northup, an educated and married black man living in New York in 1841.  Northup was approached by two men about a job offer in Washington D.C., but when he showed up he was kidnapped and forced into slavery for over a decade.  The featurette contains plenty of new footage, and listened to the interviews, it looks like they’ve stayed pretty close to the source material.  I read the book earlier this year, and found it to be revelatory and emotional, and I couldn’t understand why it’s not on middle school reading lists alongside Uncle Tom’s Cabin.  It’s a powerful story, and it looks like it will be a powerful movie.

Hit the jump to watch the featurette.  The film also stars Michael Fassbender, Benedict CumberbatchPaul GiamattiQuvenzhane WallisSarah PaulsonPaul DanoScoot McNairyGarrett DillahuntAlfre WoodardDwight Henry, Michael K. Williams, and Brad Pitt12 Years a Slave will play at the Toronto International Film Festival before opening on October 18th.

First Trailer and Poster for 12 YEARS A SLAVE Starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, and Benedict Cumberbatch

by     Posted 1 year, 108 days ago

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The first trailer for director Steve McQueen’s (Shame) historical drama 12 Years a Slave has been released online.  Based on Solomon Northup’s autobiography of the same name, the film stars Chiwetel Ejiofor (Children of Men) as Northup, an educated and married black man living in 1853 New York.  Northup was approached by two men about a job offer in Washington D.C., but when he showed up he was kidnapped and forced into slavery for over a decade.  Ejiofor’s performance as Northup is every bit as hopeful as Michael Fassbender’s plantation owner Edwin Epps is terrifying.  It’s easy to get caught up in early Oscar talk from this trailer, but let’s not forget how socially relevant Northup’s story is today, even 150 years later.

Hit the jump to watch the trailer.  The film also stars Benedict CumberbatchPaul GiamattiQuvenzhane WallisSarah PaulsonPaul DanoScoot McNairyGarrett DillahuntAlfre WoodardDwight Henry, Michael K. Williams, and Brad Pitt.  12 Years a Slave opens on October 18th.

First Images from TWELVE YEARS A SLAVE Featuring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, and Benedict Cumberbatch

by     Posted 1 year, 135 days ago

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The first images from director Steve McQueen’s highly anticipated new film Twelve Years a Slave have arrived.  Based on Solomon Northup’s autobiography of the same name, Chiwetel Ejiofor (Children of Men) plays Northup, an educated and married black man living in 1853 New York.  Northup was approached by two men about a job offer in Washington D.C., but when he showed up he was kidnapped and forced into slavery for over a decade.  The film boasts a wildly impressive ensemble cast and marks McQueen’s follow-up feature after the critically acclaimed 2011 drama Shame, and so we’ve been looking forward to this one for quite some time.  Ejiofor looks fittingly intense as the film’s lead, but it’s the menacing Michael Fassbender who stands out in these debut images as a slave owner.  With this debut set of photos hitting today, we should see a trailer for Twelve Years a Slave soon.

Hit the jump to take a look at the images.  The film also stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Giamatti, Quvenzhane Wallis, Sarah Paulson, Paul Dano, Scoot McNairy, Garrett Dillahunt, Alfre Woodard, Dwight Henry, Michael K. Williams, and Brad PittTwelve Years a Slave opens on December 27th.

Steve McQueen’s TWELVE YEARS A SLAVE, Starring Chiwetel Ejifor, Michael Fassbender, and Brad Pitt, Set for December 27th

by     Posted 1 year, 217 days ago

Fox Searchlight is getting its Oscar plans in order by announcing that they’ve set Steve McQueen‘s Twelve Years a Slave for December 27th.  Based on Solomon Northup’s autobiography of the same name, Chiwetel Ejiofor plays Northup, an educated and married black man living in 1853 New York.  Northup was approached by two men about a job offer in Washington D.C., but when he showed up he was kidnapped and forced into slavery.  The film has lined up one of the best casts in recent memory.  In addition to Ejifor, the film also stars Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Paul Dano, Scoot McNairy, Quvenzhane Wallis, Paul Giamatti, Sarah Paulson, Garrett Dillahunt, Alfre Woodard, and Benedict Cumberbatch.  Fox Searchlight’s Oscar odds also go up when you consider that two films involving slavery—Lincoln and Django Unchained—grabbed Best Picture nominations last year (somehow, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter missed the cut).

The only other film set for December 27th’s is The Weinstein Company’s Oscar-hopeful Grace of Monaco starring Nicole Kidman as Grace Kelly.  I can’t wait to see Twelve Years a Slave, and I hope it will play at TIFF like McQueen’s first two features, Hunger and Shame.

Season Three of FX’s AMERICAN HORROR STORY: COVEN to Focus on Witches

by     Posted 1 year, 227 days ago

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FX’s American Horror Story has already covered the topics of ghosts, serial killers, the criminally insane, Nazis and aliens in such creepy locales as a haunted house, insane asylum and mad scientist’s laboratory.  Season three, recently revealed with the title of American Horror Story: Coven, will center on witches and take place partially in New Orleans.  Throughout the second season, it was speculated that creators Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk would be taking on witches in the upcoming season, based on hints they scattered throughout the Asylum episodes; but this storyline has been in the works for quite a while.  Hit the jump for more.

AMERICAN HORROR STORY: ASYLUM Finale Recap – “Madness Ends” Plus a Look Back on Season Two and a Look Ahead to Season Three

by     Posted 1 year, 281 days ago

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Tonight’s episode of FX’s American Horror Story: Asylum not only wrapped up our favorite characters’ arcs, it concluded the show’s entire second season.  Things were tied in a neat little bow with massive character deaths done in the most tasteless possible way…for the most part.  After the jump, we’ll talk about how Ryan Murphy and the creative team of AHS:A explored and resolved the theme of insanity, who will return next year and just where the show might be headed for season three.

American Horror Story: Asylum stars Jessica Lange, Zachary Quinto, Evan Peters, Sarah Paulson and Lily Rabe, along with newcomers Adam Levine, Jenna Dewan-Tatum, James Cromwell, Joseph Fiennes, Chloe Sevigny, Lizzie Brochere and Clea Duvall.  Hit the jump for the recap and review of tonight’s finale, “Madness Ends” and a look back at the second season.

Creator Ryan Murphy Reveals Details on AMERICAN HORROR STORY Season 3; Jessica Lange, Sarah Paulson, and Evan Peters to Return

by     Posted 1 year, 287 days ago

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With the American Horror Story: Asylum finale scheduled for January 23rd, FX invited some reporters over to 20th Century Fox to screen the episode and do a Q&A with show creator Ryan Murphy.  While we will post the portion of the interview about his thoughts on Season 2 of the ongoing mini-series that has different characters and settings with each season while many of the same actors rotate in and out, we did want to share what he had to say about where he’s looking to take the show in Season 3.

During the interview, he said that he plans on doing something a bit funnier next season, that it’s a mixture of several cities that will take place in different time periods, Jessica Lange will be playing a very glamourous woman, that she’s requested a handful of actors that she’s always wanted to work with, that both Sarah Paulson and Evan Peters will be returning, that he’ll be bringing back actors from Season 1, and he wants to have a star-crossed lovers romance.  Check out what he had to say after the jump.

AMERICAN HORROR STORY: ASYLUM Episode Recap: “Continuum”

by     Posted 1 year, 287 days ago

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We’re getting down to the wire and running out of living characters on FX’s American Horror Story: Asylum.  Tonight we bid fond farewells to three more souls: one was a surprise, two of them died a second time and one of them was simply brushed aside with nary an explanation.  This episode was also a bit more toned down than we’re used to (well, for this show anyway) so I’m expecting them to lay it all on the table in next week’s season finale.

American Horror Story: Asylum stars Jessica Lange, Zachary Quinto, Evan Peters, Sarah Paulson and Lily Rabe, along with newcomers Adam Levine, Jenna Dewan-Tatum, James Cromwell, Joseph Fiennes, Chloe Sevigny, Lizzie Brochere and Clea Duvall.  Hit the jump for the recap and review of tonight’s episode, “Continuum.”

First Trailer for MUD Starring Matthew McConaughey and Reese Witherspoon

by     Posted 1 year, 288 days ago

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We saw the first two clips from writer/director Jeff Nichols’ Mud back in May of last year, but now the first trailer has been made available.  Starring Matthew McConaughey (Magic Mike) as a fugitive drifter who finds safe harbor on an island in the Mississippi River, but is discovered and befriended by two teenage boys (Tye Sheridan and Jacob Lofland).  The trailer gives a great sense of the tension that builds over the course of the picture and hints at the dangerous situation the boys unwittingly become involved in.  Also starring Reese Witherspoon, Sam Shepherd, Michael Shannon and Sarah Paulson, Mud opens in limited release on April 26th.  Hit the jump to watch the trailer.

AMERICAN HORROR STORY: ASYLUM Episode Recap: “Spilt Milk”

by     Posted 1 year, 295 days ago

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With only two episodes left after tonight, it’s nice to see American Horror Story: Asylum wrapping up the myriad plotlines in favor of bringing the major arcs to a satisfying conclusion.  We’ve already said goodbye to a few of the main players but more and more characters just keep popping up.  Also returning for this episode is my favorite stand-out director of the series, Alfonso Gomez-Rejon.

American Horror Story: Asylum stars Jessica Lange, Zachary Quinto, Evan Peters, Sarah Paulson and Lily Rabe, along with newcomers Adam Levine, Jenna Dewan-Tatum, James Cromwell, Joseph Fiennes, Chloe Sevigny, Lizzie Brochere and Clea Duvall.  Hit the jump for the recap and review of tonight’s episode,”Spilt Milk.”

AMERICAN HORROR STORY: ASYLUM Episode Recap: “The Name Game”

by     Posted 1 year, 302 days ago

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What better way to kick off 2013 than with a return to FX’s American Horror Story: Asylum?  Tonight’s episode spent a little bit of time getting us reacquainted with our favorite patients and caregivers of Briarcliff, but quickly got back into the crazy head games, battle between good and evil and even threw in a few surprises.  If you were sharp-eyed, you may have even picked up on a teaser about the plot line in the third season of American Horror Story. 

American Horror Story: Asylum stars Jessica Lange, Zachary Quinto, Evan Peters, Sarah Paulson and Lily Rabe, along with newcomers Adam Levine, Jenna Dewan-Tatum, James Cromwell, Joseph Fiennes, Chloe Sevigny, Lizzie Brochere and Clea Duvall.  Hit the jump for the recap and review of tonight’s episode,”The Name Game.”

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